Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day Fifty-Three: If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

I've been to Belgium. Briefly. I spent one day in Brussels, at the tail end of a European backpacking trip. It was the only city on our trip that we hadn't really researched, a last minute addition that replaced Amsterdam on the agenda. Mostly, I saw a square dedicated to martyrs and a beautiful park with a lot of Belgian ducks (I don't know if Belgian ducks are different than American ducks, but there were a lot of them, and they were probably bilingual). I did not have Belgian waffles or Belgian beer or Belgian fries. And, though I was in their namesake city, I certainly did not have Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts are just one of those vegetables that gets a bad rap (rep?) along with lima beans and broccoli. We decide during childhood that we don't like them, and that opinion tends to stick. Even if we've never had them before. We see these little ugly green things (green, in childhood, being the color of evil) and we close our minds. Which isn't fair. Brussels sprouts (and broccoli, actually, but we're not really talking about that) are just a form of cabbage. I like cabbage. So why wouldn't I like Brussels sprouts?

To be fair, I have had one form of Brussels sprouts that I enjoyed. It was at Thanksgiving this year, and my aunt brought balsamic Brussels sprouts, a recipe she got from Rachael Ray. They were good, but mostly I tasted the balsamic and not the sprout. So I had to have them again, to be sure. I had them alongside a pork chop. I boiled the sprouts briefly, then sauteed them with shallots in olive oil. Salt and pepper. Your basic preparation. I ate them plain and with a little grainy mustard, which I always like with my pork chops. Both ways, they were lovely. They were vegetables, yes. They have a vegetabley taste. But can you really expect veggies to taste like candy?

Actually, I might start making Brussels sprouts whenever I have pork chops. It was a really good combination.

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